What happens when a pregnant woman is dehydrated?

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One major concern for any pregnant woman is the issue of dehydration during pregnancy. Dehydration arises when the body loses water faster than you are taking it in. It is a serious issue for the health and wellness of anyone, most especially pregnant women; it is especially important to stay well-hydrated. A pregnant woman needs more water than the average person.

Role of water in pregnancy

Water enhances the healthy development of your baby Water aids the formation of the placenta Water is also used to form the amniotic sac Water assists in conveying nutrients to the foetus.

Causes of dehydration in pregnancy
The primary cause of dehydration during pregnancy is a condition known as morning sickness. This affects almost half of expecting mothers. According to the American Pregnancy Association, morning sickness symptoms start at 4-6 weeks and advance at 9-13 weeks, and they include vomiting, nausea, increased sweating and more frequent urination.

It is highly important and essential for pregnant women to have proper hydration during pregnancy. Hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy speed up the loss of fluids and electrolytes which quickly leads to dehydration. During pregnancy, the body produces more blood which requires more water to transport nutrients to the developing baby. Normally, there is about 5-6 liters of water in the body; in pregnancy however, it increases to as much as 9 liters.

Symptoms of dehydration

Regular and adequate water in the system will help you regulate your body heat; however, if you are not drinking enough water during pregnancy, you can be prone to overheating. A sign of being well-hydrated is having a clear urine color, as opposed to dark yellow. When the urine is dark yellow, it is a sign that you need to increase your water intake. Vomiting, increased sweating and more frequent urination all speed up the loss of water and electrolytes in the body. In addition, nausea discourages you from drinking fluids voluntarily, which can make it more difficult to replace lost nutrients.

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The symptoms of morning sickness are greatly reduced or disappeared by the second and third trimesters, but up to 20 percent of mothers may experience morning sickness throughout their pregnancies.

In addition to the above, hyperemesis is another cause of dehydration. Hyperemesis is a rare condition that affects about 2 percent of expecting mothers. The symptoms of hyperemesis are often confused with those of morning sickness, but they are much more severe and last throughout the pregnancy. Symptoms include severe vomiting, extreme nausea and the inability to keep down foods. Like morning sickness, the symptoms of hyperemesis cause a rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes with fever, which is sometimes associated with the vomiting and nausea of hyperemesis, can increase sweating and amplify fluid loss.

In the same vein, diarrhea during pregnancy caused by sudden dietary changes, increased hormone production or sensitivity to certain foods that some women experience during pregnancy is another common cause of dehydration. In the third trimester, diarrhea is more common, especially nearing the due date. Diarrhea results in a severe loss of water and electrolytes, and it is one of the leading causes of dehydration. Replenishing water and electrolytes following an episode of diarrhea is critical to prevent dehydration.

Effects of dehydration on Pregnant Women
Neural tube defects
Low Amniotic Fluid
Inadequate breast milk production
Premature Labor
Birth Defects

Complications of dehydration during pregnancy
The possible complications are:
Urinary Tract Infection
Lower Amniotic Fluid
Braxton Hicks

Prevention of dehydration during Pregnancy
Consumption of at least 8-12 glasses of water daily
Avoid caffeinated products
Do not engage in strenuous exercise
Stay in cool environment

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